The “human cost of crashes” involving young drivers has been plotted across 49 different areas of Britain in a new report commissioned by the RAC Foundation.
The study, carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) on behalf of the RAC Foundation, shows that nearly one in eight (11.9%) of all road casualties are hurt or killed in collisions involving a car driver aged 17-19 years. This is despite 17-19 year-olds making up only 1.5% of licensed drivers.
The proportion of casualties is highest in Dyfed Powys at almost one in five (18.2%), followed by Gwent (17%), Cumbria and North Wales (15.8%), Northern and Grampian (15.7%) and Cornwall (15.5%). At 5.6%, London had the smallest proportion.
TRL has also made “a conservative estimate” of the likely reduction in casualties if a system of graduated driving licensing (GDL) was introduced.
Based on the experience of other countries where GDL is in operation, the report concludes that across Britain about 4,500 fewer people would be hurt in an average year. This includes about 430 people who would otherwise have been killed or seriously injured.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Whichever way you cut it young drivers pose a significant and disproportionate risk to themselves and to others and it is in rural areas where the casualty rate is highest.
“The Government has repeatedly delayed announcing its strategy to help reduce young driver accidents but here is yet another piece of evidence which shows graduated licensing can significantly cut death and injury.
“The irony is that while ministers here prevaricate, action is being taken just across the Irish Sea. Earlier this month a bill was put before the Northern Ireland Assembly which would see the introduction of many of the measures this Government has ruled out.
“We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable. This is about ensuring their long-term safety and mobility, not curtailing it.”
Click here to read the full RAC Foundation news release.